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Ryan Quinn

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About Author — Ryan has a background in geochemical research and enjoys writing on technical subjects like health and science. He lives in Salt Lake City, UT and can be found recreating in the local mountains.

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Chest Congestion Remedies

Mucus. For many people the word arouses a sense of sickness, but mucus is actually a needed and helpful substance. Mucus protects vital tissues, helps trap foreign particles, and produces a variety of antibodies, enzymes, proteins, etc. that protect the body. Despite this, when mucus is overproduced or its consistency changes the results are symptoms we are all too familiar with.

Read on to learn causes, symptoms and chest congestion remedies that will help you feel better.

Causes Of Chest Congestion

Most commonly chest congestion is caused by a respiratory infection or allergy, but there are many causes of chest congestion and remedies vary depending on the underlying cause.

Common causes of chest congestion include:

Some causes of chest congestion are more serious:

  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Tuberculosis
  • Lung Cancer
  • Heart Attack

When To See A Doctor

Chest congestion remedies can often be administered at home, but for serious problems, it is important to speak with a doctor. Contact a doctor if you have symptoms such as:

  • A productive cough that brings up blood, yellow, or green mucus.
  • Pain in your arms, neck, back, stomach, or jaw accompanied by a squeezing feeling in your chest.
  • Coughing spells at night accompanied by swollen legs and ankles.

Chest Congestion Remedies

Over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, and natural options for chest congestion exist and may be worth a try.

Decongestants are common medicines to help break up and clear out mucus and are available both over-the-counter and by prescription. Examples include: Sudafed, Vicks Sinex, and vapor rubs.

Note that over-the-counter cold medicines can be very dangerous for children. Take caution and talk to a doctor before giving over-the-counter decongestants to a child.

Antihistamines treat many symptoms of allergies, including congestion of the airways.

Expectorant thins mucus, relieves congestion, and helps get mucus out of the body.

Antibiotics are only necessary for chest congestion when treating bad bacterial infections such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. Do not use antibiotics to treat colds.

Natural Remedies for chest congestion can be anecdotal, but solid evidence exists for some.

Approved cold remedies, which may help with chest congestion:

  • Rest.
  • Hydration. Consume a lot of liquids like water (can add lemon), broth, tea, juice, or cider. Avoid liquids that cause dehydration such as alcohol, coffee, and sodas.
  • Humidifying the air might help loosen mucus membranes.
  • Honey. Evidence supports honey as an effective cough suppressant, which might help with chest congestion.

More anecdotal options include:

  • Essential oils might ease breathing, but take caution – essential oils are not risk free. If using essential oils, a diffuser will help by adding humidity to the air.
  • Certain foods such as garlic, lemon, ginger, cayenne, ginseng, licorice root, and pomegranate have been used to help alleviate congestion.

Cold remedies with conflicting evidence:

  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc
  • Echinacea

If you have chest congestion book an appointment with a PlushCare physician and get a diagnosis and a prescription today so you can feel like yourself again.

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